Leopold And His Fiction – Ain’t No Surprise

Leopold And His Fiction

Leopold And His Fiction Ain't No Surprise

San Francisco band Leopold And His Fiction are vying for success with a blues-rock vibe similar in style to The Von Bondies, The Black Keys and The White Stripes. But Ain’t No Surprise, while energetic and raucous, doesn’t quite live up to the Stripes’ unique, raw, and emotional rock, although it can certainly hold a candle up to the other two.

Daniel James (vocals/guitar/bass/organ/percussion) and Ben Cook (drums/Wurlitzer) play their tunes with a similar raw energy, and the songs are equally swaggering and rambunctious, perhaps just not as endearing or accomplished as The White Stripes. But while the Stripes’ specialize in piercing blues-punk, Leopold And His Fiction infuse their rock and blues hybrid with decidedly classic rock inclinations and even add a touch of back-country murkiness.

Thankfully though, it’s the good kind of throwback rock and the back-country murkiness adds a certain intriguingly fresh appeal to the proceedings. It’s apparent that the members of Leopold listened to a lot of old Doors, Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones records, as hints of each can be heard throughout the disc’s 11 tracks. Whether it’s a free-wheeling and heavy guitar solo, an eclectic, whirling organ riff or campy, swinging vocals, Leopold And His Fiction wear these influences on their musical sleeves while mixing in their own traditional sounds and elaborations.

The songwriting is not necessarily invigorating or ultra-imaginative, although it’s not bad either. The band seem more intent on rocking out and having a good time rather than impressing rock music critics. The simple rock rhythms are well-played with an honest raw energy and are melded with various fragments of blues, punk and alt-country for a roiling and rumbling rock n’ roll mixture with exhilarating solos that should please rock fans who like that sort of thing.